The Instigator
izbo10
Con (against)
Losing
5 Points
The Contender
rogue
Pro (for)
Winning
24 Points

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 7 votes the winner is...
rogue
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/29/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,575 times Debate No: 19488
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (48)
Votes (7)

 

izbo10

Con

Premise 1: A theist must answer yes to the question do you believe in god.

Premise 2: I don't know is not a yes to the question

conclusion- He is not a theist, and not a theist is the same as atheist

Rogue is claiming this is not a syllogism and not valid. Rogue must prove this.
rogue

Pro

I have no problems with premises 1 and 2. His conclusion is faulty. It is true that said person is not a theist if they answer "I don't know" to the question "Do you believe God?" But, clearly "not a theist" is not the same as an atheist. He has not shown any evidence to show that "not a theist" is the same as an atheist.

Atheist: a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings. http://dictionary.reference.com...

Agnostic: a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as God, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience. http://dictionary.reference.com...

Clearly both these types of people would not answer "yes" to the question "Do you believe in god?" but one cannot discern from their answer if they are agnostic or atheist or neither. An agnostic is clearly not the same as an atheist. Also, someone may not believe in "God" per se but still believe in supreme beings. This person would answer not answer "yes" to the question "Do you believe in God?" but is not an atheist according to the dictionary's definitions. Clearly this is a false syllogism.
Debate Round No. 1
izbo10

Con

Premise 1: A theist must answer yes to the question do you believe in god.

Premise 2: I don't know is not a yes to the question

conclusion- He is not a theist, and not a theist is the same as atheist

Rogue is claiming this is not a syllogism and not valid. Rogue must prove this.

My opponent makes the blatant mistake of conflating knowledge with belief. Let me explain with 4 examples:

I see a shoe box in the store I believe there are shoes in the box. I don't have knowledge that there are shoes in the box. (agnostic theist position)

Following that, I open the box and I see shoes, now I believe and have knowledge that there are shoes in the box. (gnostic theist position)

On the contrary I could have opened the box and not seen shoes, then I don't believe there are shoes in the box and I have knowledge there are no shoes in the box. (gnostic atheist position)

The final example would be, that I see pallet in walmart with one unmarked box on it, I have no prior knowledge to the contents of the box and it gives minimal clues, only clues are its size is restrictive to certain objects. The box could fit shoes. I do not believe that there are shoes in the box, but I do not have knowledge that there are not shoes in the box. (Agnostic Atheist position)

See we now have 4 examples and only 2 of which do knowledge and belief match, so clearly they are not the same thing. Since, we now see that knowledge and belief are not interchangeable, we must now look at what the positions mean.

A- is not or without
gnostic- 1. gnostic Of, relating to, or possessing intellectual or spiritual knowledge.
http://www.thefreedictionary.com...

theism-Belief in the existence of a god or gods, especially belief in a personal God as creator and ruler of the world.

so therefore, a agnostic would be without knowledge(of god).

and an atheist would be without belief in the existence of a god or gods.

Now onto my opponents definition, the first word denies would refer to the strong atheist position, but keep in mind the definition uses the word "or" in it. The "or" brings us to disbelieves which is defined like this:

disbelieve- To withhold or reject belief

http://www.thefreedictionary.com...

Since a person she claims is agnostic is not believing they are withholding belief. A person can withhold belief for many reasons, not the least of which is not being given any reason to believe or to even think it exists. Therefore, I have demonstrated that the person who she claims to be agnostic withholds belief or does not believe in god hence the are atheist.

For another view we look at this site:

http://www.investigatingatheism.info...

"Perhaps the most obvious meaning to many people now is the absence or rejection of a belief in a God, or gods"

Again the or is important in this definition, and the person she refers to as an agnostic has the quality of absense of a belief in god, hence they are atheist.

This is simple, when we talk atheist or theist we are talking about belief, when we talk gnostic or agnostic we are talking knowledge. I have shown with examples they are not mutually exclusive and actually create this dichotomy:

agnostic atheist, gnostic atheist, agnostic theist, gnostic theist.

Agnostic clearly does not answer the question of belief and belief and knowledge are not interchangeable.

Here it is:

Agnostic atheist- one who does not have knowledge of a god, but does not believe in one
gnostic atheist- one who has knowledge that there are no gods, and therefore does not believe in gods
agnostic theist- a person who does not have knowledge of a god, but non the less believes in one.
gnostic theist- one who has knowledge of a god, and believes in one.

I would actually say we are all agnostic, just which type theist or atheist is the real question.
rogue

Pro

First of all, my opponent is either rejecting my definitions or is just ignoring it. It is important that my opponent clarify because if my definitions are correct, his entire argument is irrelevant. If my opponent is going to reject my definitions, he must give a relevant reason why.

"Since a person she claims is agnostic is not believing they are withholding belief."- My opponent makes a big mistake here. I never said that the agnostic said that he did not believe, just that he would not answer "yes" to the question "Do your believe in God?" There are more answers to said question than just yes and no. Just because one does not answer "yes" does not mean that one does not believe. A person who does not answer "yes" to the question "do you believe in God?" is not a theist. But we have no idea what they are other than that. We do not have enough information to determine what the person would qualify as. "I do not know what I believe" is a legitimate answer and does not qualify as "witholding belief."

My opponent does not give definitions for words such as "agnostic", "theist", or "atheist", but rather tries to create definitions from his own knowledge. A person who disbelieves in God, and that is all we know about them, does not qualify as an atheist by my definition. The person must disbelieve in all supreme beings which could be beings other than "god".

There is no reason to believe in the four definitions and terms he supplied. He has no basis to support that they are even real terms.

His entire arguments hinges on the assumption that an atheist is someone who disbelieves in God. There is no credible definition that defines an atheist this way. Also, according to his syllogism, "not a theist is the same as an atheist." My opponent has only supported that someone who does not believe in god is an atheist. He has not proven that everyone who is not a theist is an atheist.

He entire argument denies any existence of a middle ground in the situation. He is saying that someone who is unsure of their beliefs or has come to the conclusion that they cannot know is withholding belief and is therefore disbelieving.

disbelieve: to have no belief in; refuse or reject belief in
http://dictionary.reference.com...

According to this definition, which I personally think is obviously more credible, withholding belief is not disbelieving. It is counterintuitive to think that someone who has decided that they can never know what is true and therefore refuses to make a conclusion is disbelieving in something. Same goes for saying that someone who is unsure of their beliefs and is withholding judgement is disbelieving. Clearly my definition fits better.
Debate Round No. 2
izbo10

Con

"Atheist: a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings. http://dictionary.reference.com... round 1.

"His entire arguments hinges on the assumption that an atheist is someone who disbelieves in God. There is no credible definition that defines an atheist this way. " rogue round 2.

Contradiction much? Her own definition says an atheist is either:

1 a person who denies the existence of a supreme being or beings

2 a person who disbelieves he existence of a supreme being or beings.

I then went onto present this:

http://www.investigatingatheism.info......

"Perhaps the most obvious meaning to many people now is the absence or rejection of a belief in a God, or gods"

which defines an atheist in either of these 2 ways:

1 absence of a belief in god
2.rejection of a belief in god.

I would like to admit this is from the university of Cambridge, so that wouldn't be a credible source.(Sarcastic smile).

Onto her nonsense about disbelief. She defines it this way, disbelieve: to have no belief in; refuse or reject belief in, which is fine.

Here is how belief is defined.
1
: a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing
http://www.merriam-webster.com...

Now the person who does not know whether god exist, is clearly not in a state of mind where they place trust or confidence in the existence of god.

and if one is not in the state of mind where thy place trust or confidence in the existence of god, they do not believe in the existence of god. That would imply an absence of belief or have no belief in. Absence and not being there or having no are the same concept. So by all definitions this person meets the definition of atheist.

My opponent blatantly contradicted her own definition, when confronted with my arguments, I hope my opponents problem is she does not understand the definition of belief and that clears things up.

Let me give an example, we have 3 people: Bob, Tom, and Jim and Jim is accused of stealing from the office and Bob and Tom are discussing it.

Bob: So what do you think, is Jim really stealing that stuff
Tom: I don't know, its possible either way.

In this example it is clear Tom does not believe that Jim is innocent, he also does not believe Jim is guilty.

We would answer these questions this way

Does Tom believe Jim is innocent? No

Does Tom believe Jim is guilty? No

Tom has an absense of belief in the innocence of tom and an absense of belief in the guilt of tom. He disbelieves either positive claim until further notice. On any single claim a person either holds the positive attribute of belief in it or they do not.

Through definitions I have shown that if a person answers yes to the the question:
Do you believe in god?

They are a theist, while if they answer no to the question, they clearly have the absence of belief in god so they are atheist. My opponent continues to conflate knowledge with belief in a intellectually dishonest attempt to maintain her incorrect beliefs. The right thing to do would be for her to admit her failures and say she was wrong, I really shouldn't have to had written anything more after her blatant dishonesty pointed out right here in the beginning.
rogue

Pro

Izbo misconstrued my point. When I said that his entier argument hinges on the assumption that an atheist is someone who disbelieves in God, I meant that to be an atheist, one must not just disbelieve in god, but also all other supernatural beings.

"Now the person who does not know whether god exist, is clearly not in a state of mind where they place trust or confidence in the existence of god."- Nor are they putting trust or confidence in the nonexistence of God. Therefore they cannot be an atheist by any definition. Also, to be an atheist one must not believe in the existence of all supreme beings. So even if Izbo is right and they do not believe in God, they are still not necessarily an atheist since we do not know whether or not they believe in other supreme beings.

"That would imply an absence of belief or have no belief in. Absence and not being there or having no are the same concept. So by all definitions this person meets the definition of atheist."- Not having a belief is not the same as disbelief. This is obvious with your definitions.

Izbo's examples are irrelevant. Even without any other arguments, by the definition of atheist that Izbo accepted, a person must disbelieve in all supreme beings, not just God. No matter what answer a person gives to "Do you believe in God?", we do not have enough information about their beliefs to conclude whether or not they believe in supreme beings or not and therefore not enough information to conclude whether or not they are an atheist. Izbo's syllogism says that if someone does not answer yes to the question "Do you believe in God?", they are an atheist. I have proved this to be false.
Debate Round No. 3
48 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by rogue 5 years ago
rogue
Oi my point was that to qualify as an atheist by the definition from dictionary.com, one must not believe in all supreme beings. There are other supreme beings other than "god". Therefore from his syllogism, one cannot conclude if the person is the an atheist or not no matter what their answer to the question is since it only deals with belief in God. But yes I was also trying to prove that disbelief is not the same as non-belief.
Posted by Double_R 5 years ago
Double_R
Wiploc, having an opinion and having a belief are two different things. I don't have an opinion about whether you have an odd number of coins in your pocket because I don't have sufficient information to form a conclusion either way. A belief doesn't require information, and we all have beliefs whether we understand them or not. Regarding your coin scenario; you might have an odd number of coins in your pocket or you might not. Since I accept either as a possibility, and I know for a fact that one of them must be true, I have some level of belief in both scenarios. I just have no reason to care.
Posted by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
Tarzan wrote:
: that there is a critical difference between belief, non-belief, and disbelief.

Non-belief is atheism, according to the way Izbo uses the word "atheism."

"Disbelief" can mean either non-belief or beleiving-the-opposit, so it's not very helpful to use it as quoted above.

: Even if you want to present the (false) dichotomy of belief and disbelief,

How is that false? There's a difference between theists and non-theists. That's a legitimate dichotomy.

" then there is still a difference between disbelief by choice

explicit atheism

: sand disbelief by default

implicit atheism

How is pointing out the difference in implicit and explicit atheism supposed to be a refutation of Izbo's position?
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 5 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
Again - as I've said in forum posts about this, and mentioned in my RFD. There are two ways to attack Izbo's position:

First, that there is a critical difference between belief, non-belief, and disbelief. Even if you want to present the (false) dichotomy of belief and disbelief, then there is still a difference between disbelief by choice and disbelief by default (e.g. ignorance, refusal to consider, etc...).

Second, there is a problem for those who cannot have a belief because they have not reached the substantive stage in reasoning. For example, ignostics, apatheists, and some agnostics - the distinction being those who don't have, don't care to have, and can't have (respectively) the conceptual information necessary about the situation to formulate the substantive belief.
Posted by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
Double_R wrote:
: Izbo, your definition of atheist affirms Rogues argument, not yours. If a person has NO belief in
: supreme beings then the only thing left for them is to believe that supreme beings don't exist.

No, you could, for instance, have no opinion. You yourself have no belief that I have an odd number of coins in my pocket, but that doesn't mean you opine that I have an even number of coins. Rather, it could mean that you've never thought about it. Or that you thought about it and are undecided. Or that you did decide, but your decision is that, given the state of the evidence, the only responsible thing to do is to not hold an opinion either way.
Posted by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
Izbo was pointing out that Rogue's dictionary.com definition didn't actually support her case. If you can be an atheist by either denying OR disbelieving, then you can be an atheist simply by not being a theist.

If you disbelieve (that is, if you don't happen to believe that gods exist), then---according to Rogue's own definition---you are an atheist.

Now, because I don't want to do what I accused Rogue of doing, I'll point out that you can find dictionaries that put the other definition of "disbelieve" first. And maybe some dictionaries that include only one definition or the other. "Disbelieve," has two meanings. It can mean that you just don't happen to believe, or it can mean that you believe the opposite. That is, disbelievers in god can be either atheists (those who don't happen to believe in god) or they can be strong atheists (those who believe gods don't exist). So Izbo was pointing out that Rogue's definition supported him rather than her.
Posted by Double_R 5 years ago
Double_R
lol! I don't know either. Especially since Izbo actually embraced your definition in round 2:

"Now onto my opponents definition, the first word denies would refer to the strong atheist position, but keep in mind the definition uses the word "or" in it. The "or" brings us to disbelieves which is defined like this..."
Posted by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
Rogue, didn't you act like your dictionary quote supported your claim that atheists believe gods do not exist?
Posted by rogue 5 years ago
rogue
how did I misrepresent the dictionary?
Posted by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
Double_R wrote:
: Wiploc, I understand what you saw regarding Rogues use of the dictionary. However I think it is
: very important to note that it was Izbo's responsibility to refute Rogues definition, not yours.

Good point. Except that Rogue had the burden of proof, not Izbo. Izbo used a word. Rogue told him that he had used it wrong, and undertook to prove that his usage was wrong.

: In the end it boils down to a very simple fact; Rogue got her definition from the dictionary,
: Izbo made his up.

She got hers by, however innocently, misrepresenting the dictionary. He got his by common usage.

That's not to say that she couldn't have found a dictionary that would have supported her position (several smaller dictionaries seem to come down on her side, and even her chosen dictionary would presumably, if we dug deeper into it, have some definitions that would arguably support her). And it's not to say that her usage is not also common usage (it is more common that his, in fact).

But she undertook, as near as I can tell, to prove that his usage was wrong, when it clearly isn't, as even her own dictionary shows.

She did cite a dictionary, but the definition she quoted did not support her case.

Had she attacked the validity of his syllogism, she'd have won hands down. But, as I read the debate, she aimed exclusively at his usage of the word "atheist." She claimed that it doesn't mean what he thinks it means. That's what she staked her case on.
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by Double_R 5 years ago
Double_R
izbo10rogueTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con actually put together a good argument as to why the definition of an atheist should not be limited to someone who disbelieves in God. However this debate was not about what the word “atheist” should mean, but rather what it does mean and how it fits into the syllogism. Pro successfully established what it actually means, and showed how her conclusion fits by showing that a person can be agnostic, as well as theist or atheist.
Vote Placed by imabench 5 years ago
imabench
izbo10rogueTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro's arguments were very loical and correct, sources were used well by both sides, but the con needs to get some manners
Vote Placed by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
izbo10rogueTied
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by Chrysippus 5 years ago
Chrysippus
izbo10rogueTied
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Reasons for voting decision: See comment.
Vote Placed by Nur-Ab-Sal 5 years ago
Nur-Ab-Sal
izbo10rogueTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro had better spelling and grammar, and also showed how Con's logic was erroneous.
Vote Placed by ReformedArsenal 5 years ago
ReformedArsenal
izbo10rogueTied
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Reasons for voting decision: "not a theist is the same as atheist" is another whole string of arguments that you would need to prove, not just tack on to the end of your conclusion.
Vote Placed by JustCallMeTarzan 5 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
izbo10rogueTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Though perhaps not phrased in the terminology I would use, Rogue hit the nail on the head. There is no reason to suppose that people without the conceptual framework to make a belief statement are pigeonholed into a dichotomy (if it even exists) of substantive claims. Con also made no real attempt to rebut the Venn-diagram style argument about overlapping concepts. Conduct was obvious, as usual in Izbo's debates.